John Cadbury's descendant slams Easter egg hunt furore in single tweet

'As a Quaker, he didn't celebrate Easter,' Esther McConnell, who claims to be a descendant of Mr Cadbury, tweeted

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The Independent Online

A communications executive who says that she is a descendant of John Cadbury has waded into the debate over the name of the confectioner’s egg hunt, rebuking claims that her great, great, great, great grandfather would have condemned the name of the Easter event.

Early on Tuesday, the Church of England became embroiled in a row with Cadbury and the National Trust, accusing the organisations of "airbrushing faith" from their planned Easter egg hunts by rebranding them to drop the word “Easter”, calling them “Cadbury Eggs Hunts” instead.

In response, the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, told the Telegraph that name change was like "spitting on the grave" of the firm's Christian founder, John Cadbury.

But later in the day Esther McConnell tweeted that John Cadbury, who she said was her great, great, great, great grandfather, would likely not have been upset but the move.

“As a Quaker, he didn't celebrate Easter,” she wrote.  

By mid-afternoon her tweet had been retweeted over 650 times.

Esther McConnell told the Independent: "Quakers recognise the equality and value of all people. As such I am glad to see that Cadburys and the National Trust are welcoming those of 'all faiths and none' to their event regardless of whether they call it Easter or not."

"John Cadbury, my great- great- great- great-grandfather, was a Quaker and as such believed that every day is equally sacred and back then this was expressed by not marking festivals. Quakers believe in the underlying message of Easter, of hope, forgiveness, and love. " 

Prime Minister Theresa May condemned the decision to drop the word "Easter" as "absolutely ridiculous" but the British Humanist Association, a national charity that works on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity, described it as a “storm in a teacup”.

“Easter is a fun time of year for people of all ages and beliefs. It’s disappointing that the Church saw fit to whip up a storm in an eggcup over this in a bid to maintain its relevance in an increasingly non-religious country,” Richy Thompson , director of public affairs at the association said in a statement.

“With all the challenges we face as a diverse society, this sort of totally manufactured, self-interested victim-pleading is not just silly but irresponsible,” he added. 

According to Cadbury’s website, Mr Cadbury opened a grocer’s shop in Birmingham in 1824 selling cocoa and drinking chocolate. The Cadbury manufacturing business opened in 1831 when he started producing on a commercial scale. 

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